Thursday, January 04, 2007

Ode to a purse

I'll never forget when we first met. There I was, minding my own business, walking through the mall, when I happened to glance at the store to my left- there it sat- encased in glass, sitting atop a shelf: The Coach holiday patchwork tote purse. I felt giddy elation as I dragged an unwilling K into the store with me. It was absolutely gorgeous in every way. Large enough to tote, but stylish and feminine. I could see myself wearing dark blue jeans, a black long sleeved shirt, so simple, yet instantly perked up by the presence of this lovely handbag. A purse that wouldn't just go with my outfits, but would make my outfits. I knew I had to have it. As I reached out for it Kashif walked up to me holding a tiny little wallet with an incredulous look upon his face: $150 dollars for a wallet?! Its smaller than my hand! The wind beneath my wings began to falter: If the wallet was $150 how much would the purse be? Some of you might be thinking: Aisha its a coach purse! How much do you think it costs? Well, you must understand that though I absolutely adore purses, and they are my favorite accessory I stick to TJ Maxx and Ross for my purse buying needs. I doubt I've ever paid more than $40 for a purse. I live within my means and if a cute 9 west purse from Ross will do the trick and look nice too, why spend more? Sadly this led to a sheltered life from the elite purse world that would giggle themselves silly at the sight of a Ross purse. Thus I had no idea how much a Coach purse would cost and this purse was decidedly not $40. Not even on the same planet as $40. I tried to rationalize how it might be worth it, but somehow reason could not accomodate such a purchase. How could I have fallen in love with an unattainable item?

Six weeks later, walking through the mall with my little brother I saw it again- this time sitting in the center display of the Dillards Coach pagoda. He was unimpressed: "It looks like a hobo waded through the garbage behind the Coach factory and stitched up the scraps to create a purse" My father sympathised, "it must be very expensive, is it $100?" (And it is for this reason I haven't listed the actual price of said purse)

Then came Eid. After Eid Salat and breakfast brunch, we sat in the living room surrounded by gifts of varying degrees of gift wrapping perfection. One by one the packages went: my brothers with their matching polos, my dad and his calender mouse pad, my mom and her leather bound address book, Jadore perfume for me. One by one the packages went and finally there were none left. Just as we were about to go for our 98th cup of tea for the day, Kashif smiled saying there was one more gift. From behind a cushion came a Macy's bag- my heart stopped for at least a second- there it was, in all its splendid glory, my purse.

My family was astonished. I'm not a brand name junkie. I'm definitely not sophisticated enough to be a Coach purse aficianado. Vat happened? I still have not removed the tag and only model it in the mirror with gentle care. Should I return it? Should I keep it? Though the coach website says it can be used year round, when I asked the coach sales clerk if I could she paused (possibly suppressing laughter) and then politely said Well, though there is no law against wearing it year round.... I would not recommend it. That much for a fall winter bag? But I reason: 1) I am careful with my expenditures 3) In my twenty-something years on earth I have never wanted something this unnecessary but fun and pricey 4) It is a gift 5) I really love this purse. Its a conundrum indeed, but just maybe purse, you are finally home.

43 comments:

slskenyon said...

I think you can be rest assured that the acquisition of something truly desired--it makes up for all of the Christmas presents accepted with a smile that were less than desireable.

christina/ohio said...

It was a gift,you have it and love it,why on earth return it? Let yourself be spoiled by the gift giver, don't insult them by returning it! Enjoy! :)

Aisha said...

slskenyon, that is a really good point :)

Christina/ohio, welcome to the blog and thanks for commenting! Thanks, I feel beter about it now :)

mystic-soul said...

And above all it is from Kashif !!

Suroor said...

Awww, Mashallah Kahif is awesome!Such a lovely story.

Um Ibrahim said...

Aww I envy you..there's nothing wrong for keeping you "nikmat":)
I love branded purse,*whisper* but usually bought it second hand, recently bought a month old coach tote bag for 30$;)

ruby said...

Congrats on the bag! You deserve it honey, do not return that. On occasion its ok to spoil yourself esp when it something you really do love from someone you love. Enjoy it!

Anjum said...

masha'ALlah just enjoy it. They got it for you because they knew you'd love it but would never spend the money on yourself. my girlfriends did the same - bought me my first (& only) coach purse, because they knew I'd never buy one myself. and I'm not big on brands either but god it is pretty.

Muslim Wife said...

Oh, sheesh, I cringe at the thought of name-brand anything.

Remember that this world is *supposed* to be a prison for the beleivers, and if you can justify that purse in front of Allah on yawm ul Qiyamah (when we are asked about our every possesion, second, action), then go for it. If not, I say return, go downtown and buy a knock-off for $20.

Aisha said...

Mystic, true :)

Suroor thanks :)

Um Ibrahim did you buy it off of Craigs list??? I heard people can get great stuff for great prices on there

Ruby thanks for that. I think "spoiling" is exactly right but once in a while its okay I say :)

Anjum, yeah! lol. I think that may be why Kashif bought it. Since we are married and can buy ourselves whatever we need, this is one of those things that I would NEVER buy for myself so he had a great excuse to get a gift that would mean a lot and could only come from him

Muslim Wife, you are very right :). The interesting thing is I did not like this purse BECAUSE it was a Coach or a name brand. I actually did not know what brand it was when I went in to the store. I also tried very hard to find knock offs like it but they have not made knock offs yet or I have not seen them. Its going to be my first and last gift/purchase of its kind I think so I'll just enjoy it :)

Anonymous said...

Muslim Wife - A little extreme, don't you think.

There is no problem with enjoying halal things in this world while we're here.

The item was a gift from your husband, so you should enjoy it. (I'm sure Allah will understand.)

Muslim Wife said...

Sure, if you call following the sunnah extreme, then alhamdulillah it's more than a little extreme.

"enjoying things while we're here" is precisely the attitude that makes our hearts hard to this dunya and forget about the akhirah. The Prophet and his family *never* ate a meal that filled their stomachs, upon his death he only had a handful of meager possessions, and the same goes for the sahaba, the tabi'een and the salaaf. So much so that they tied rocks to their stomachs to quench their pangs of hunger. When the Prophet & his wives received gifts the first thing they did was distribute it amongst the poor, though there were rightly entitled to it as well.

Sorry you don't seem to think these sunan apply to us. After all, the ghurabaa' aren't called ghurabaa' for no reason.

May Allah make us the most ghareenb of the ghurabaa', ameen.

Jane said...

Aisha,
Enjoy the purse, guilt-free. Life has so many pains, big and small. If this brings you joy that is ok. So what? It was a lovely and thoughtful gift. What is the point of having anything if you do not use and enjoy it? You are not an asthetic. Life is for the living.

Rabia said...

aisha, this is funny. i have recently been looking at the coach websites because i, too, have been eyeing a similar purse. but when i saw the price, i immediately said no. but, i secretly wouldn't mind it if was bought for me! haha! but, it is a lot of money for a purse. i hope you figure out something to do that will make you happy. What a sweet husband, Masha'Allah.

UmmAbdur-Rahmaan said...

Subhan Allah...I went and found it on the coach web site ...WOW I don't think I could ever make myself love or need something for that price..... But I am glad you got it anyway....Enjoy

Aisha said...

Anon thanks for your input, and Muslim Wife thanks for sharing your insight on it. I appreciate Muslim Wife's perspective, she is a real life friend of mine and is one of the nicest people I know mash'allah. I dont take offense to her comments because I know that she does not say it from a condescending place but from a place of love, also, by posting it I should be open to different views on the topic. The only thing that I can't tolerate is when people are vicious or mean and when I know their purpose is simply to hurt and not to share a legitimate point of view. I know MW does not have any of the latter intentions... But thanks also anonymous for your views, I think I am of your opinion on the situation but I still do value MW's opinion and understand her perspective.

Jane, this is the main reason I decided to keep it. It makes me happy and its not like I go to the mall walking out with bags, its infact quite rare for me to go to the mall. If its something that makes me happy and it was given because someone I love knew it made me happy, then I should enjoy it.

Rabia, really?? which one were you looking at? Its a cute purse isn't it :). But yeah.... um quite pricey. Which is why I'd never have bought it for myself

Ummabdur-rahman, LOL at your reaction because it is the same reaction I would have if I was reading someone else write about such a topic. I agree with you. I assure that buying this purse was something I did not even conceive of. Infact, funnily enough, when I showed my brother the purse, he wondered if Kashif might get it for me, and I laughed saying that if he bought that for me, I would love him for it but would instantly return it because the price was outrageous. Sadly when the purse was in my hands I couldnt bring myself to do it. Its weird and it defies logic. I guess its one of those things. :(

renee said...

I love it!

Anonymous said...

I loves it I really really do. ts a lot but like you said its once in a lifetime type of purchase. Be happy!

Chocopologie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chocopologie said...

Okay....the question is can you wait? This bag will be in the Coach outlet stores for under half the price by end of summer....I totally understand when you say the brand doesn't matter to you but the desire and the happiness you feel when you carry it....I hate carrying brand names but I do own a pure white plain coach purse which cost around a little over a $100 from the outlet....gosh I got sick the week after I bought the purse and while under breathing tubes in the hospital kept telling my significant other to go return it since I am being punished by Allah for splurging...the doctors told me not to worry abt the purse till after I am better....lol....such is our guilt...okay so do you think the both of you (your hubby and you) can afford it? I know people who buy these things on credit and that is just plain silly....I think if you promise yourself to donate a certain amount of money if you keep the purse....it will make you feel better....I have been in your situation too so thought of putting in my 2 cents...by the way I love reading your blog...:)...Happy modeling the purse....:)

momyblogR said...

Ok, your sweet Hubby remembered and thought enough to buy it and surprise you. For sure keep it, wear it and totally enjoy it.

If there wasn't the means then maybe I'd rethink it but he decided wasn't beyond that so I say squeeze him and just say thank you. :):)

Anonymous said...

Muslim Wife - Do you really think its wrong for her to accept a gift from her husband who bought it out of love for her. Do you think its sunnah not to accept a gift if person gives it to you from their heart? Come on...

Allah has blessed them, so they should enjoy allah's blessings. (We all understand that we need to take care of our islamic obiligations first... Duh!)

Aisha, there is nothing wrong with you keeping the purse. Don't let other people make you feel guilty for no reason. We should accept and thank Allah for his blessings instead of questioning them.

Tee said...

Did you watch Ugly Betty last night? Tell me you did and felt inspired to tell your purse story, because if you didn't this is REALLY weird.

I also get cheap purses and have been on the hunt for a new one for over a year. I can't find anything I like.

That purse is gorgeous. For all the mistakes husbands make they get it right once in awhile - enjoy the bag!!! :)

Aisha said...

Renee, Anon, thanks :)

Chocopology, thanks for the insight on the coach outlets! I calld them they dont have it. I guess I could wait till next Summer but that's quite a while away.... so its bad but I think I'll just keep it (and yes t ssomething that is within our means, just not something I should be buying once a month). I'm sorry you were sick after purchasing your purse! I never felt guilt in that regard. I did not consider for a moment that God would be angry at me for this purchase.... if I lived life like that I would question everything, my laptop, my slightly more expensive flatware, my lawn servce, all are to some extent luxuries, I Coudl do with simpler things in these areas but I don't. But you're right, you should not get enveloped and such things and giving charity when being able to buy some luxuries is a good idea to remind ourselves not to get too wrapped up in ourselves. Thanks for commenting!

Momyblogr, I think I will enjoy it :). Thanks:)

Anon, thanks for commenting. I guess all I can say is that we all have different perspectives, I'm more on your end as far my opinion on this matter, but that doesnt meant other perspectives exist.

TEEEEEE- Look at the time of the post!!! IT was before Ugly Betty. And YES I DID WATCH IT!!!! Kashif was watching it with me and I was practically hyperventilating. It was funny because he kept messing on the drive up "you are so nuts for that purse" and this entire episode was about the love for a purse. ISNT THAT WEIRD???? I'm glad you saw it and got struck by the weirdness of it. Is it a coincidence? Is it a sign? If so, what is it a sign of? Kashif isaid it was a sign to return the purse. I said no its a sign to ekep the purse by showing me there are people less fortunate who cannot keep dearly loved purses so I should go ahead and keep mine and enjoy it. lol. I dont know. We were so thrown off!!!!

West Coast Mommy said...

I would definitely keep it, your husband is so sweet for getting it for you! And that purse is going to get so many compliments - my best friend has it and people literally stop her and compliment her on it all the time. So enjoy it because it doesn't sound like you splurge on yourself often at all, and this was a gift :)

Tee said...

OMG - That is SOOOOOO weird!

Kashif said it's a sign to return it!? No! LOL, naughty, Kashif!

Aisha said...

West Coast Mommy, welcome to the blog and thanks for commenting. I do think I will be keeping it. I almost wore it out today but it was raining so I did not but the day is coming :) Would you say its a fall/winter bag only though?

Tee, ISNT IT??? I'm glad someoen else thought so :). I dont know what it means but a weird coincidence.

Chic Mommy said...

Hi Aisha, sorry it took me so long to read your post, the kids have been really sick this week, I just got a chance to get on the computer after a looong time.

Anyway, I LOVE the purse. Someone I know has this and it is a show stopper. She places it right on the dinner table too, to make sure everyone sees it, (and it's how I saw it) which I think is showing off a little too much, but hey, she's flaunting it and it makes her happy, so whatever.

First off, DO NOT FEEL BAD about wearing this purse. Wear it, abuse it, fill it up with all your junk and fling it into the backseat of your car as you get in. You're in a high-profile job now, people really do notice your purse. When I first started working, I didn't understand why people would pay $400 for a Kate Spade when an equally attractive look-alike by Nine West gave you the look for less, but my mom is a huge purse snob (she not only collects Coach, but she's got LV, Chanel, and a few Isabellas in her closet too). She gave me a taste of the designer world in the form of a Louis Vuitton Speedy as a gift when my son was born. Once you get used to the look and feel of genuine fine quality leather and workmanship, you can see why they cost so much. Each Isabella Fiore bag is made by hand, and Coach, the quality is amazing. I have alot of Coach hand-me-downs from my mom and they all are in perfect shape even after 15 years. No seams are coming apart and the leather has aged to perfection. I can't say the same for the $40 dollar Nine West bags I bought, I literally threw some of them away, they were in such poor shape. Another brand I really like is Kooba. Their leather is so soft and bag designs are really unique.

About wearing it year round, there's generally a fashion rule that you shouldn't wear dark colored bags in the spring and summer. Most fashionista types wear white or beige, or brightly colored yellow, blue, spring green, or pink bag. Leather is usually out as a material in summertime, and lighter materials such as canvas is preferred. I found a nice summer bag at Hayden Harnett, it's called the Montauk Hobo in a bright yellow, and it went with nearly everything in my wardrobe.


But that doesn't mean you have to retire the coach bag come May. Wear it whenever you want. I was wearing brown leather bag in August because I wanted to, who gives a shit if it wasn't quite fall yet?

Keep the bag. Love it. Wear it. Don't feel guilty. Enjoy the fact that you are carrying a little bit of luxury with you everyday. Thank God that he has blessed you with financial stability and that you can afford it and move on. In fact, start planning your next big purchase. you're husband is not really going to like me now, but it's like I explain to my husband, the same way he likes nice shiny brand name cars, women like designer bags.

Aisha said...

Chic as soon as I got it I thought of you, I was thinking "What would ChicMommy think?" lol I'm glad you like it, it makes me feel better because I wasn't sure if it was a nice purse objectively though to me, the Ross aficianado it is a most divine handbag.

One of my biggest hesiation is that the 9 wests and others DO fall apart after about a year or so. I was afraid that this would also fall apart, and then that is a waste. But its good to know that the money you're putting into it ensure syou will have it years down the road.

I also feel better knowing that I can treat it like any other purse without the seams falling apart. I have been wondering how I will take it out for fear that I will hurt it. I'm glad to know they are that sturdy that I can toss it in the back seat without worrying.

And you raise a really good point. As a lawyer (insh'allah) I will be meeting with people who work at the top notch frms and I'm hoping durnig my fellowship to make good connections and lasting impressions and being well presented is important.

The funny thing is you know how you said prepare your husband for the next big purchase, I think since you and the Coach folks said that this is a fall/winter bag.... I do need a spring/summer one too then :) Though I think in the future for my designer purse needs I will look to Craig's List and the outlets so the next hand bag is more reasonably priced.

Thank you so much for your advice!!

Living Away said...

I'm a tote/bag/purse/ freak myself, having now around 60 pieces of many shapes and colors!
Justing coming back from Brasil, I got 2 more...
Well, a Coach bag is something to pass from generation to generation!!

Rabia said...

coach outlet...where?! i liked the black one with buckles. sadly, :( it is $698. Outta my budget.

shaz said...

beautiful purse... but much more beautiful is that it was a gift from your hubby... that is worth much more :) just love it!

'liya said...

That is one gorgeous bag!

sheryza said...

wow girl! you go on and enjoy that purse with your bad self! i think you deserve it...name brand or not! i like things that are of good quality too...not because of the name but because itwill last longer and i wont have to keep spending money on a new one. hope you had a great eid!

Aisha said...

Living away I got a few purses when I was Paratay. They were so affordable and fun :)

Rabia wow 700!! That is a lot. But if you can afford it sometimes its nice to splurge on yourself particularly f you don't do that very often.... But yeah thats a lot :)

Shaz, thanks :) That was what touched me the most. That he would do that for me. I know for me at least I loved this purse. For him it was just out of love for me because he sees nothing special for the purse. Alhamdullilah )

liya and sheryza welcome to the blog and thanks for commenting. Sheryza yes this will probably be my bag for many many many years to come insh'allah.

Saadia said...

That's a beautiful bag. But as my mom would say, if someone from a village would take some fabrics and sew them together ecause they were poor, and try to make some design, we'd call them paindu.

By the way, how did you get the picture of the bag all by itself without the background?

Saadia said...

Oh now I read the whole thing. Well, I think Kashif was trying to make you happy so whatever decision you make, you can try to make him happy too :)) Heck, return the bag and go on vaction :)

girlygirl said...

are u a moslem? where in US? state?

Aisha said...

Saadia, lol, Ali said a similar remark about how a hobo could have made that and it wouldn't be worth quite as much. I'm going to keep it because it makes me happy. It is a riduculously expensive bag but its going to be my only one... maybe thats rationalizing it a bit too much... but you do what you can!

Girlgirl, yes.

Rabia said...

i'm going to go to a coach outlet this weekend, iA! haha! i found one here.

Chic Mommy said...

Gee thanks Aisha, I'm so flattered that you would think of me when you saw that purse! I've got to admit, I was used to be a huge fashion dork, it took me a while to figure what was going on in the fashion scene and I still to this day make my share of fashion violations. I'm hoping that now that I'm older and wiser I can share some of what I've learned throughout the years.

In a nutshell, when it comes to the law firms, audit firms, investment banks, alot of first impressions are based on appearances. The people with the highest marks don't always get the job, sometimes just having the right purse under your arm will get you invited to that very important business lunch that could lead to a job promotion.
It's a shallow shallow world we live in, you just have to learn to adapt.

Also, I wanted to correct myself about spring and summer bags. Leather is actually IN all year round as a material, it's just that the black and brown colors are out for the warmer months, giving way for more summer-like colors like white, beige, pink, etc...the closest you can get to brown is camel brown, but most department stores do all this color fixing for you by displaying the "in-color" of the moment prominently in their stores. Last summer's hit was a Yves Saint Laurent Muse bag, in White, all the celebs were wearing it and there were knock-offs galore. It was $1200 then, but I'm hoping I can find it for cheap now that it's "last year's bag". There's no shame in wearing last year's bag as long as it was a style hit. And alot of these bags, the exact designs year to year are never repeated, so they are actually worth alot of money in resale value. There are old Hermes Kelly and Birkin bags going for almost $50,000 at some auction houses. A designer bag is worth almost as much as gold in the bank.

Also, if you want to wear this bag into summer, make sure to wear an all white or light colored outfit to provide contrast. It will make the bag stand out more and make it look more summery.

Anonymous said...

I recieved the purse for a b-day gift, returned it (not my taste) and got another. Its the 2nd year, they've made this holiday purse.
Its a gift, a great one, rip off the tags and enjoy it. It is however, a fall winter purse. The fabrics alone (suede, velvet, etc) are winter.

Baraka said...

That's so sweet of Kashif!

Occasionally it's nice to be spoiled so enjoy! :)

Post a Comment

I love to hear from you!